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October 12, 2009

Openmoko unveils new mobile device for Wikipedia

To access English language articles of Wikipedia without requiring an internet connection

By CBR Staff Writer

Openmoko, has unveiled the WikiReader, a palm-sized electronic encyclopedia containing around three million English language articles of Wikipedia that can be accessed from anywhere without requiring an internet connection.

The company said that WikiReader features a monochrome touchscreen and three buttons such as search, history and random. Updates for the WikiReader are provided quarterly and available for free download via the website.

WikiReader, designed by former Apple designer Thomas Meyerhoffer. Mr Meyerhoffer said that they wanted the focus to be on the ‘experience of reading Wikipedia, not browsing the web’, which is the reason that the device has only three buttons and no interface. It allows the user to go straight into the content.

Mr Meyerhoffer continued, “Because it’s offline and offers parental controls, the whole experience happens within the device. That’s especially great when it comes to kids. I can give this to my nine-year-old, and I know he’s only going to get content that is fine for him to read.”

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Erik Moeller, Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said: “We’ve played with WikiReader, and it’s a lot of fun to see the entirety of the English Wikipedia text in a self-­contained little box that doesn’t require internet access. It could also be one viable approach to share the world’s most comprehensive encyclopedia with people who aren’t connected.”

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